100 books like Transit of Venus

By Julian Evans,

Here are 100 books that Transit of Venus fans have personally recommended if you like Transit of Venus. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of The Teatime Islands: Adventures in Britain's Faraway Outposts

Simon Michael Prior Author Of The Coconut Wireless

From my list on remote tropical islands.

Why am I passionate about this?

Simon Michael Prior loves small islands, and has travelled to remote countries in search of unique island experiences. He inflicts all aspects of life on himself so that readers can enjoy learning about his latest exploits. During his forty-year adolescence, he’s lived on two boats, sunk one of them; sold houses, street signs, Indian food, and paper bags; visited fifty countries, lived in three; qualified as a scuba diving instructor; learnt to wakeboard; trained as a Marine Rescue skipper, and built his own house without the benefit of an instruction manual.

Simon's book list on remote tropical islands

Simon Michael Prior Why did Simon love this book?

As an Englishman, I’m very taken by books which combine travel with English history. Ben Fogle takes us through the last remnants of the British Empire, tiny islands that have refused independence and resolutely fly the Union Jack. His adventures in Tristan da Cunha, Diego Garcia, and St Helena took me to three places I had never been to. Like me, Fogle is an islandophile and I recommend this for anyone wanting to know about these islands that are in many ways more British than Britain.

By Ben Fogle,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Teatime Islands as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Welcomed with open arms, derided as a pig-ignorant tourist and occasionally mocked mercilessly for his trouble, Ben Fogle visited the last flag-flying outposts of the British Empire. With caution, dignity and a spare pair of pants thrown to the wind, he set out to discover just exactly who would choose to live on islands as remote as these and - more importantly - tried to figure out exactly why. Landing himself on islands so isolated, wind-swept, barren and just damned peculiar that they might have Robinson Crusoe thinking twice, Fogle: almost becomes lunch on the appropriately named Carcass Island; gets…


Book cover of Golden Bats and Pink Pigeons

Simon Michael Prior Author Of The Coconut Wireless

From my list on remote tropical islands.

Why am I passionate about this?

Simon Michael Prior loves small islands, and has travelled to remote countries in search of unique island experiences. He inflicts all aspects of life on himself so that readers can enjoy learning about his latest exploits. During his forty-year adolescence, he’s lived on two boats, sunk one of them; sold houses, street signs, Indian food, and paper bags; visited fifty countries, lived in three; qualified as a scuba diving instructor; learnt to wakeboard; trained as a Marine Rescue skipper, and built his own house without the benefit of an instruction manual.

Simon's book list on remote tropical islands

Simon Michael Prior Why did Simon love this book?

I’ve been a Durrell fan since I was 13, and I’ve collected all his books. This one opened my eyes to a group of islands in the Indian Ocean, Mauritius and its nearby neighbour Round Island. Durrell’s books are focused on conservation of the animal world, but his books are as much about the human animal, and his adventures and descriptions of the people he meets and the locations he travels to bring his books to life. Highly recommended for anyone interested in travel, conservation and humour.

By Gerald Durrell,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Golden Bats and Pink Pigeons as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On this speck of volcanic soil in the middle of a vast sea, a complete, unique and peaceful world was created slowly and carefully. It waited there for hundreds of thousands of years for an annihilating invasion of voracious animals for which it was totally unprepared, a cohort of rapacious beasts led by the worst predator in the world, Homo sapiens...In an incredibly short space of time, a number of unique species had vanished...Mauritius, the green and mountainous island in the Indian Ocean that was once the home of the ill-fated dodo, still had among its fauna many unique but…


Book cover of Island of Dreams: The True Story of One Family's Quest for Paradise

Simon Michael Prior Author Of The Coconut Wireless

From my list on remote tropical islands.

Why am I passionate about this?

Simon Michael Prior loves small islands, and has travelled to remote countries in search of unique island experiences. He inflicts all aspects of life on himself so that readers can enjoy learning about his latest exploits. During his forty-year adolescence, he’s lived on two boats, sunk one of them; sold houses, street signs, Indian food, and paper bags; visited fifty countries, lived in three; qualified as a scuba diving instructor; learnt to wakeboard; trained as a Marine Rescue skipper, and built his own house without the benefit of an instruction manual.

Simon's book list on remote tropical islands

Simon Michael Prior Why did Simon love this book?

An incredible motivating story of a man who refused to allow his poverty-stricken working-class life define him. Tony Williams, a school caretaker, had a dream to move to a desert island. His peers in his dead-end town ridiculed him, but he persisted with his ambition. Saving up money by pretending they smoked, and needed to buy cigarettes every day, Tony and his wife managed to travel to and live on uninhabited islands in the South Pacific twice, once with their kids. Anyone who believes their own personal circumstances prevent them from achieving their dreams needs to read this book, as well as anyone interested in the Cook Islands and the South Pacific lifestyle.

By Tony Williams,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Island of Dreams as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The true story of a Welsh family who left Swansea to live on a remote Pacific island. Tony Williams was determined to fulfill his lifelong ambition. They would become the Bounty Hunters - he the latter-day Robinson Crusoe, Kathy his girl Friday, and the children his castaway clan. Tony Williams swapped the gloom of recession-hit Britain for a hut on the desert island of Mania, 10,000 miles away in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. This is the story of their initial struggle for survival and of their eventual life in paradise.


Book cover of Last Chance to See

Adam Hart Author Of The Deadly Balance: Predators and People in a Crowded World

From my list on books that capture our place in nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t captured by nature. Growing up in coastal Devon, UK, I loved immersing myself, sometimes literally, in the landscapes and nature of my surroundings. It was inevitable I would become a biologist, and I think also inevitable that I would be drawn to the field of ecology, the study of the relationships that exist within nature. I have expanded my horizons over the past decade or so, developing a deep love for the landscapes and nature of southern Africa, but the rockpools and lanes of Devon are never far away.

Adam's book list on books that capture our place in nature

Adam Hart Why did Adam love this book?

Serious writing about animals going extinct and how we are all to blame doesn’t necessarily resonate with everyone. Different communication approaches are needed.

In this book, writer Douglas Adams, and Zoologist Mark Cawardine document their travels to see very rare and endangered species like the Kakapo and the blind river dolphin. Never shying away from the realities faced by these species, this book has a wonderful, engaging lightness of touch that rides above the richness and wisdom underpinning the stories being told.

I love this book, not least because it makes me realize that, despite being very much a nature lover’s book, we need more narratives about nature that can appeal to people who don’t necessarily love nature but do enjoy entertaining, amusing, witty writing.

By Douglas Adams, Mark Carwardine,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Last Chance to See as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Descriptive writing of a high order... this is an extremely intelligent book' The Times

Join Douglas Adams, bestselling and beloved author of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and zoologist Mark Carwardine on an adventure in search of the world's most endangered and exotic creatures.

In this book, Adams' self-proclaimed favourite of his own works, the pair encounter animals in imminent peril: the giant Komodo dragon of Indonesia, the lovable kakapo of New Zealand, the blind river dolphins of China, the white rhinos of Zaire, the rare birds of Mauritius island in the Indian Ocean and the alien-like aye-aye of…


Book cover of The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty

Michael J. Tougias Author Of A Storm Too Soon: A Remarkable True Survival Story in 80-Foot Seas

From my list on edge of your seat true stories of survival.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've always been fascinated by the toughest survivors, the ones where I say to myself, “I could have never got through that.” Then I’m curious about how they endured: what mindsets and techniques did they use to fight on? When I became a writer I focused on this niche, with my first book Ten Hours Until Dawn which was followed by several other true survival and rescue tales. I became obsessed with researching where the survivors made the correct decisions and how they got trapped by bad ones. When my book The Finest Hours became a Disney movie I was deluged with people sharing their own survival stories. 

Michael's book list on edge of your seat true stories of survival

Michael J. Tougias Why did Michael love this book?

Most of us are aware of the Mutiny on the English ship Bounty from the movie or are only aware of the uprising on the ship. The Bounty story, however, is so much more. One aspect is the survival story of Captain Bligh who was put into a small launch with a few of his loyal followers and set adrift at sea. The movie portrays Bligh as an uncaring bully, and perhaps a bit of that is true, but he was also a smart sailor and leader, who guided that tiny open boat thousands of miles to safety. Readers have the option of learning about the events in either Bligh’s own words in The Bounty Mutiny, or in a fascinating account of the entire mutiny and post-mutiny events in The Bounty, by Caroline Alexander. I read both accounts and came away with an appreciation of how difficult life at…

By Caroline Alexander,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Bounty as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

More than two centuries after Master's Mate Fletcher Christian led a mutiny against Lieutenant William Bligh on a small, armed transport vessel called Bounty, the true story of this enthralling adventure has become obscured by the legend. Combining vivid characterization and deft storytelling, Caroline Alexander shatters the centuries-old myths surrounding this story. She brilliantly shows how, in a desperate attempt to save one man from the gallows and another from ignominy, two powerful families came together and began to create the version of history we know today. The true story of the mutiny on the Bounty is an epic of…


Book cover of The Happy Isles of Oceania: Paddling the Pacific

Ann Göth Author Of Volcanic Adventures in Tonga: Species Conservation on Tin Can Island

From my list on sweeping you to remote islands in the South Pacific.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Australian writer with a passion for all books about the South Pacific. Thirty years ago, I embarked on a two-year mission to the Kingdom of Tonga, and soon after, my job as a naturalist on cruise ships took me to many beautiful, fascinating, and often very remote island nations in that region. Nowadays, my jobs as a writer, scientist, high school teacher, and mother leave little room to navigate to that beautiful part of the world, but I continue to read whatever seems even slightly related to the South Pacific Theme. I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I have!

Ann's book list on sweeping you to remote islands in the South Pacific

Ann Göth Why did Ann love this book?

When I first learnt that I would embark on a two-year expedition to Tonga, I knew nothing about that part of the world.

Theroux’s book brought it so much closer and opened up my eyes to many different aspects of the history and culture of South Pacific islands. I also admired Theroux for his endurance when he paddled his way from one island to the next. 

By Paul Theroux,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Happy Isles of Oceania as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The author of The Great Railway Bazaar explores the South Pacific by kayak: “This exhilarating epic ranks with [his] best travel books” (Publishers Weekly).

In one of his most exotic and adventuresome journeys, travel writer Paul Theroux embarks on an eighteen-month tour of the South Pacific, exploring fifty-one islands by collapsible kayak. Beginning in New Zealand's rain forests and ultimately coming to shore thousands of miles away in Hawaii, Theroux paddles alone over isolated atolls, through dirty harbors and shark-filled waters, and along treacherous coastlines.

Along the way, Theroux meets the king of Tonga, encounters street gangs in Auckland, and…


Book cover of Kava: Medicine Hunting in Paradise: The Pursuit of a Natural Alternative to Anti-Anxiety Drugs and Sleeping Pills

Lamont Lindstrom Author Of Tanna Times: Islanders in the World

From my list on kava (piper methysticum).

Why am I passionate about this?

I first tasted kava in the colonial New Hebrides (Vanuatu today) in early 1978. Since then, I have returned to Vanuatu many times to carry out ethnographic and linguistic research on Tanna Island on a range of issues. Although firmly incorporated within global systems since explorer James Cook visited in 1774, Islanders have fiercely maintained their island culture and languages. In addition to kava and other traditional drug substances, I have published books and articles about local knowledge systems, “cargo cults,” contemporary chiefs, Islander experience in the Pacific War, urban migration, and early Pacific photography. Currently, I am Kendall Professor and Chair of Anthropology at the University of Tulsa. 

Lamont's book list on kava (piper methysticum)

Lamont Lindstrom Why did Lamont love this book?

Kilham was an early promoter of kava as an herbal treatment for anxiety and other disorders. Kava, in fact, has proven therapeutic benefits and, along with anxiety and insomnia, treats depression, stress, muscle pain, urinary problems, and much more. It also has an emotional leveling effect, promoting temporary feelings of happiness and peace. Kilham brings readers along to Vanuatu and other Pacific Islands as he investigated kava’s local uses and its potential for consumers everywhere. Readers will appreciate the description of his first kava taste of kava that sparked his passionate promotion of the plant.

By Christopher S. Kilham,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kava as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Kava, Piper Methysticum, is the most effective relaxing and stress-relieving plant in all of nature. This book is the tale of plant researcher Chris Kilham's investigations into this plant and his far-ranging explorations deep in the South Pacific in search of a source of kava. Kilham takes the reader on an adventurous journey through the mystical native legends, outlandish history, and exciting science surrounding this potent plant. A story replete with pulpit-pounding missionaries, kava-drinking natives, sorcerers, a mysterious Tahitian prince, and the author's own humorous outlook amidst difficult and perilous circumstances, Kava is a must-read for those who love tales…


Book cover of Islands of History

Robert Darnton Author Of Pirating and Publishing: The Book Trade in the Age of Enlightenment

From my list on anthropology for lovers of history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an emeritus professor from Harvard and have spent decades trying to develop an anthropological mode of understanding history. Far from being “one damned thing after another,” as Henry Ford allegedly put it, history is an attempt to understand the human condition. It brings us into contact with people in the past, showing us how they thought, felt, and acted. For many decades, anthropologists have endeavored to do the same thing, concentrating on people separated from us by space rather than time. By applying anthropological insights to historical research, I think it is possible to make the past come alive to modern readers, while at the same time making it interesting and even amusing.

Robert's book list on anthropology for lovers of history

Robert Darnton Why did Robert love this book?

Like the anthropologists mentioned above, Sahlins is a superb writer, and succeeds in making esoteric ideas come alive for the non-academic reader. In this work, he shows how Cook’s exploration of the Pacific islands, especially Hawaii, became incorporated in the cosmologies of the indigenous peoples.  Because of the time and the way Cook arrived in Kealakekua Bay, Hawaiians took him to be the god Lono. And his death at their hands fit in with their ritual of sacrificing the god to restore the power of the king. It was congruent with local power struggles as well as the cosmological calendar. This book as well as the others will sharpen the reader’s awareness of how events are made to be meaningful in alien cultures, and they can provoke reflections about how we make sense of happenings close to home.

By Marshall Sahlins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Islands of History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Marshall Sahlins centers these essays on islands—Hawaii, Fiji, New Zealand—whose histories have intersected with European history. But he is also concerned with the insular thinking in Western scholarship that creates false dichotomies between past and present, between structure and event, between the individual and society. Sahlins's provocative reflections form a powerful critique of Western history and anthropology.


Book cover of The Coconut Wireless

Ann Göth Author Of Volcanic Adventures in Tonga: Species Conservation on Tin Can Island

From my list on sweeping you to remote islands in the South Pacific.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an Australian writer with a passion for all books about the South Pacific. Thirty years ago, I embarked on a two-year mission to the Kingdom of Tonga, and soon after, my job as a naturalist on cruise ships took me to many beautiful, fascinating, and often very remote island nations in that region. Nowadays, my jobs as a writer, scientist, high school teacher, and mother leave little room to navigate to that beautiful part of the world, but I continue to read whatever seems even slightly related to the South Pacific Theme. I hope you enjoy the books on this list as much as I have!

Ann's book list on sweeping you to remote islands in the South Pacific

Ann Göth Why did Ann love this book?

This book evoked so many memories from my life in Tonga.

Prior’s humorous accounts of his travels in this island kingdom brought back to me the laidback lifestyle, the flexibility one needs to have when living and traveling in “Tongan Time”, the different foods, customs, and attitudes, and most of all, the friendliness of the people. Having been there myself, one thing was clear: Prior did experience the real Tonga.

And having visited several uninhabited islands there, I especially enjoyed the vivid descriptions of his breakaway to a deserted island, which was full of adventure, tropical bliss, and unexpected hiccups. Simply Tonga as it lives and breathes!  

By Simon Michael Prior,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Coconut Wireless as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

When Simon and Fiona embark on a quest to track down the Queen of Tonga, they have no idea they’ll end up marooned on a desert island.

No idea they’ll encounter an undiscovered tribe, rescue a drowning actress, learn jungle survival from a commando, and attend cultural ceremonies few Westerners have seen. 

As they find out who hooks up, who breaks up, who cracks up, and who throws up, will they fulfil Simon’s ambition to see the queen, or will they be distracted by insomniac chickens, grunting wild piglets, and the easy-going Tongan lifestyle?



Book cover of Touched with Fire: The Land War in the South Pacific

James Ellman Author Of MacArthur Reconsidered: General Douglas MacArthur as a Wartime Commander

From my list on World War II in the Southwest Pacific.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an author and investor living in windward Oahu who has had a lifelong interest in military history ever since I read a biography of Alexander the Great when I was 12 years old. I have written several books including Hitler’s Great Gamble and MacArthur Reconsidered. For my next project I have transcribed, compiled, and edited 1,100 of General Douglas MacArthur’s daily communiques issued by his Southwest Pacific Area (SWPA) headquarters from 1942-45. This collection will be published by McFarland in 2024.

James' book list on World War II in the Southwest Pacific

James Ellman Why did James love this book?

The land war in the South Pacific was brutal.

Japanese conduct was unfathomable to the GIs and Marines who confronted them in battle: The enemy would almost never surrender, engaged in suicidal charges, and often feigned death when wounded in an attempt to kill at least one American before expiring. As the Japanese asked no quarter, they also rarely offered it, and those taken prisoner by the Emperor’s soldiers were often murdered and their bodies mutilated. 

Then there was the land itself: jungles and marshes of debilitating heat and humidity from which sprang deadly diseases such as malaria, typhus, and cholera which caused multiples of the numbers of casualties suffered in battle. 

Touched With Fire chronicles this hellish battlefield as the Japanese advance was slowed, halted, and then reversed over the course of 1942-45.

By Eric M. Bergerud,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Touched with Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A brilliant history of the land battles in the Pacific theater of World War II, with stirring personal accounts of the horrifying struggle between the Japanese and Allied forces.
 
The horrors of WWII in the South Pacific extended far beyond the detonation of atomic bombs. In this revelatory portrayal of the lives of the regular infantrymen who struggled to contain the Japanese advance, Eric Bergerud has given us a compelling and chilling record of the incredible hardships endured by these soldiers, and the heroic efforts that resulted in the reversal of the course of the war. Bergerud spent hundreds of…


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